Europe &amp: CIS: Italian businessmen could rescue Alitalia

A group of 10 Italian businessmen are discussing a plan to save Alitalia, including a possible capital injection of US$1.47 billion, according to Dow Jones. The meeting in Milan was sponsored by Intesa Sanpaolo, the Italian bank that in May received a mandate from Premier Silvio Berlusconi to sell the government’s 49.9 per cent stake […]


A group of 10 Italian businessmen are discussing a plan to save Alitalia, including a possible capital injection of US$1.47 billion, according to Dow Jones.

The meeting in Milan was sponsored by Intesa Sanpaolo, the Italian bank that in May received a mandate from Premier Silvio Berlusconi to sell the government’s 49.9 per cent stake in Alitalia, the third attempt to privatise the struggling airline in nearly two years.

Hurt by political interference, Alitalia hasn’t reported a net profit since 2002 and the recent surge in fuel prices has complicated matters further.

Intesa Sanpaolo is proposing a breakup of Alitalia, with the carrier’s potentially profitable operations being sold to a group of investors headed by Italian businessmen in order to keep Alitalia in domestic hands.

The Italian investors in Alitalia are expected to include Roberto Colannino, chief of motorcycle maker Piaggio, and Carlo Toto, head of domestic carrier Air One. Other possible bidders include the Benetton family, which controls clothing company Benetton Group, insurance magnate Salvatore Ligresti and the Equinox investment fund.

The 10 businessmen who met late last month said they were willing to invest a total of more than $1.47 billion in Alitalia as long as the government approves new legislation to facilitate the break-up of the airline.